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View Diary: Bob Gates calls criticism of response to Benghazi attack 'cartoonish view of military capabilities' (95 comments)

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  •  Don't look know (18+ / 0-)

    (and you probably don't want to) but Ron Paul is making sense again. Talking points are "sideshow." Underlying issue is the mess that is post-regime-change Libya.

    The real lesson of Benghazi will not be learned because neither Republicans nor Democrats want to hear it. But it is our interventionist foreign policy and its unintended consequences that have created these problems, including the attack and murder of Ambassador Stevens. The disputed talking points and White House whitewashing are just a sideshow.
    In his piece he goes a bit overboard in describing what Islamic militants have done to Libya, but he's correct to draw attention to the real Bengzai scandal -- the lack of focus on and concern for what the NATO operation has brought. Just today:
    Deadlycar bombing  hits Libya's Benghazi

    At least 12 killed and dozens wounded in explosion in car park of emergency hospital in volatile eastern city.

    •  While I'm against "pre-emptive" wars like (12+ / 0-)

      Iraq (though there was nothing really to preempt, of course), and long, pointless wars like Afghanistan, our intervention in Libya seemed moderate and appropriate.
      The problem is the aftermath, and that's where I agree with you. No one seems to be paying attention.
      I despise both Pauls, but very occasionally they say something useful. However, I believe it's usually for the absolutely wrong reasons.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:50:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even if -- (7+ / 0-)

        perhaps especially if -- you supported the regime change operation, you should feel that the lack of focus on the violence and chaos there is shameful.

        •  I am not trying to be combative here. . . (6+ / 0-)

          But, I would like to ask, what specific "focus" would you recommend or would like to see?

          There does seem to be a lot of "lose-lose" propositions out there. If one intervenes - such as Afghanistan, Iraq (2 times) Somalia, the Balkans - the price that is paid is lives, years of involvement and life long disability. If one doesn't intervene - such as Rwanda, Egypt, Syria, Iran to a lesser extent then you lose by "allowing" violence and chaos.

          So far, Obama has not started a war. After the petro-imperialism of Bush, I take that as the default responsible choice.

          Short of putting troops on the ground, what would you have them do? And, I abhor the idea of a violent, chaotic Libya as much as anyone, if any citizens in the world have suffered more than them - point them out. I just am not sure there is an effective answer.

          Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

          by 4CasandChlo on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:10:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a hard question to answer because (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Meteor Blades, 4CasandChlo, eparrot

            the discussion and reporting about Libya is so slight. We know that the country faces a threat from militias and, relatedly, Islamic militants. Are the actions of the United States and other western national increasing or decreasing that threat? We know that the U.S. is involved in CT operations there, including the effort to bring the Benghazi killers "to justice," and that drones have never stopped flying there, and generally, US CT operations tend to strengthen, not weaken, extremists, so this is cause for concern. Likewise, multinational corporations are doing their best to benefit from Qaddafi's downfall and extract Libyans' wealth. Point being, we we're all for Libyans during their uprising; we should be for them now.

      •  Seemed? (1+ / 0-)
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        Ya, that's how they made it seem alrighty.  The government story always makes it seem that way.  It seemed that way with Iraq too.  

        "I'm an antiwar propagandist as accused by democrats. Not even republicans have called me that."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:05:36 AM PDT

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    •  Part of why this bullshit is happening. (7+ / 0-)

      Distraction.  It works.  People still think the bombing of Libya was a humanitarian mission. The propaganda never stops.

      "I'm an antiwar propagandist as accused by democrats. Not even republicans have called me that."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:50:41 AM PDT

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    •  weak (18+ / 0-)

      when you resort to citing a racist loon, you lose credibility. if ron paul has anything valid to say about anything, someone who is credible will say the same thing. cite them.

      but your overall criticism of what's happening in libya is not unlike those who cited the turmoil in vietnam after we pulled out, or the continuing economic problems in south africa. guess what? when a horrible war or horrible regime finally ends, the people who were subject to it don't suddenly start singing love songs to each other. utopia doesn't suddenly break out. there are plenty of problems in libya, but if the u.s. had done nothing the real benghazi scandal would have been the bloodbath that qaddafi intended.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:51:24 AM PDT

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      •  Well if you or someone else here (3+ / 0-)

        were telling the truth, I might have cited you, but you're too busy parroting the Democratic Party talking points, so.

        •  what talking points am i parroting? (17+ / 0-)

          that the imminent benghazi bloodbath would have been a bad thing? and there really isn't anyone other than ron paul who is criticizing what's happening in libya? danger room has stuff all the time. ron paul is a neoconfederate shithead. citing him undermines your own argument.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:01:53 AM PDT

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          •  Direct me to your post (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            on the underlying issue here - the conditions in post-regime-change Libya. Show me the passage where you say that's what we should be focusing on, and I'll quote you pronto.

            •  my focus has been on other issues (7+ / 0-)

              like climate change. and hoping that we don't get into a war with syria. but any sensible person wants libya to be democratized and economically stabilized. kind of like what we want for this country. but citing ron paul, and continuing to focus on the ongoing problems without at least acknowledging that many more innocent lives were saved than were lost, and that the polls in libya show a highly anomalous approval of americans, is deliberately missing the point.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:08:00 AM PDT

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              •  Funny (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                any sensible person wants libya to be democratized and economically stabilized
                For all the sensible people here, few are talking about it. There was only support for the invasion, premature celebration and then....nothing. But I'm glad I got you talking about the real issue here, if only for a comment.

                As for the juvenile, anti-intellectual notion that one shouldn't cite the correct ideas of someone who also holds incorrect ones, well, it refutes itself.

                •  actually (7+ / 0-)

                  you can cite pretty much any crazed lunatic ever, if you want to. pretty much anyone who has ever been able to talk has said something reasonable, once or twice. but sensible people find sensible people to cite. others have blind spots and make weak rationalizations for their blind spots.

                  we're all very touched by your concern for the libyans. although it would have been nice to see some of that concern for the people of benghazi, when a massacre was imminent and there were no truly good options. and it would be nice to see some of that concern for countless other peoples around the globe. like the hundreds of millions who will become climate refugees.

                  the fact is, you were wrong about getting involved in libya, it didn't turn into a full invasion or occupation or iraq jr. and because you were wrong, and refuse to acknowledge that you were wrong, you instead cite every ongoing problem as emblematic of something larger. which they are not.

                  libya isn't suddenly going to become paradise. no one ever thought it would. it's a troubled country, but the people rose up, on their own, as they did throughout the arab spring. the difference was that qaddafi had the means of slaughtering people, and would have. and the people fighting him asked for help.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:38:10 AM PDT

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                  •  I don't believe I wrong (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    (Your claim I said it would become a full-blown occupation is just a lie.) But I think it's far too early to draw any sweeping conclusions about the wisdom/morality of going in, but the refusal to pay attention to what's happening there is shameful, not least because, good bad or indifferent, what's happening is the result of US actions.

                    It's bizarre, but not unexpected, the millions of words spilt on this event in Benghazi but barely a handful about the context in which and the reasons it occurred. An example of the same American exceptionalism that led to regime change operation.

                    •  here's a clue (2+ / 0-)
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                      4CasandChlo, kyril

                      regime change operations tend to be about imposing what we want on another country. the libyans fighting gaddafi asked for our help. in the aftermath, libyans approve of america at anomalous rates. it is no more too early to say that libya is better off without qaddafi than it is to say that egypt, despite its ongoing problems, is better off without mubarak.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:57:41 AM PDT

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                      •  It is, in fact, too early to say this (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        divineorder, eparrot
                        egypt, despite its ongoing problems, is better off without mubarak.
                        It'll be years before we know what comes next in these countries. Believe me, I work with activists in Egypt who, though they celebrated and celebrate still, Mubarak's fall are greatly fearful about what's happening there.

                        The difference, of course, is that in Egypt, the people rose up against a U.S. backed-dictator and overthrew him. In Libya, the US and NATO illegally entered into a civil war to overthrow a dictator.  

                        •  believe me (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          i have an egyptian activist friend who is quite happy that mubarak is gone.

                          and once again you're just flat wrong. libya was just like egypt, except that qaddafi was ready to do what mubarak wasn't. and the libyans fighting qaddafi asked for help. you somehow keep ignoring that.

                          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                          by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:17:33 PM PDT

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                          •  My last comment (0+ / 0-)

                            You can both be happy that a dictator is gone and uncertain that what comes next will be better.

                            The fact that Libyans, to the extent that this can be gauged, asked for our help is relevant, as are the lives saved immediately in Benghazi (even if the number is often exaggerated; Qaddafi, despite his rhetoric, didn't engage in mass slaughter in other places he'd captured.) Contrary to your claims, I've never denied the arguments for intervention. But to me those just didn't and don't outweigh the likely downsides, given the history of military interventions, esp. in this part of the world.Gary Younge:

                            The call from Libyan rebels for a no-fly zone matters. Those who are resisting Qaddafi deserve our support. But they don’t single-handedly determine the nature of it. Solidarity is not a process by which you unquestioningly forfeit responsibility for your own actions to another; it involves an assessment of what is prudent and what is possible. The left should not be in denial that nonintervention could have meant defeat for the Libyan revolution...

                            But neither should we be browbeaten with accusations that by opposing military intervention, we are in effect supporting Qaddafi—particularly not by supporters of states who were until recently arming him.... If Qaddafi goes, we have no idea what ethnic and regional rifts will emerge. What victory looks like under these circumstances is anybody’s guess.

                            Far from being a knee-jerk response to Western military action, opposition to the bombing marks a considered reflection on the West’s knee-jerk impulse to mistake war for foreign policy. This impulse follows a well-worn circular logic in three parts: (1) Something must be done now. (2) This is something. (3) So we must do it. And that something invariably involves bombing.

                          •  some of us (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wadingo, aimeehs

                            are capable of taking situations case by case.

                            and maybe you don't remember that qaddafi's security forces already had massacred hundreds, in benghazi itself. maybe you don't remember his speech urging his supporters to attack the "cockroaches" who were opposing him. maybe you don't remember where we had previously heard that kind of language.

                            the only knee-jerk response has been by those who continue to look for every possible reason to criticize what's happening in libya, including citing racist loons to back their case. the only knee-jerk response has been by those who need to be dragged into acknowledging that it's a good thing the brutal dictator is gone.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:46:34 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  This is not true. . . (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Laurence Lewis, KenBee, wadingo

                      What is happening in Libya is not the result of US actions.

                      I am not saying that the US's actions have not contributed to where Libya is today but your sweeping statement laying "fault" (100% apparently) on the US is just a non-starter.

                      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

                      by 4CasandChlo on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:26:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, the US would never instigate a civil war (0+ / 0-)

                        in another country.  
                        Blessed are the peacemakers.

                        "I'm an antiwar propagandist as accused by democrats. Not even republicans have called me that."

                        by BigAlinWashSt on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:13:05 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Are you saying that the U.S. instigated... (4+ / 0-)

                          ...the civil war in Libya?

                          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                          by Meteor Blades on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:27:56 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  That is exactly what is more needed Big al (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          WB Reeves

                          More black and white thinking and personal attacks.

                          Perhaps if you read my comment as cleverly as you applied my sig line you would note that that was not what I wrote.

                          I acknowledged that the US had contributed to where Libya is currently, my issue was stating that it was the US - period - who is responsible for where Libya is. I guess you are much more sophisticated than me and know better.

                          Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

                          by 4CasandChlo on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:28:34 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The adrenalin high of self righteous indignation (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            has a tendency to cloud the faculties of reason and judgement.

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Mon May 13, 2013 at 03:16:46 PM PDT

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                          •  I agree. The US can influence events in Libya, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            but can't control them and better not think they can.  Libya is  experiencing the divisions and conflicts that reliably emerge when a brutal dictator rules for a long time and then is overthrown.  Suppressed divisions and emnities resurge, fueled by years of bitterness.  Different agendas compete, often in the street. Things tend to be a mess for a while, until some faction or coalition becomes dominant and begins rebuilding on their chosen terms.  We can hope the winning factions won't be jihadist fanatics, will lean towards democracy and human rights, and will be able to resist dominance by multinational corporations.  If the US acts skillfully -- and if the US is favoring democratic forces at the moment -- we might be able to give some valuable help to the better factions.  BUt we can't guarantee a "win."

                            Many people don't want to accept that foreign policy, at best, is a series of trade-offs and gambles.  If based on knowledge, skill, and good judgment, those gambles will STILL produce negative effects some of the time, because the US doesn't actually rule the world, even if some of our leaders (and some progressives) seem to think it does.

                            --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

                            by Fiona West on Mon May 13, 2013 at 03:35:04 PM PDT

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        •  Excuse me, but did you just accuse LL (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of being a liar?

          Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

          by blue aardvark on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:16:49 PM PDT

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      •  Ron Paul does make sense sometimes (4+ / 0-)

        the rest of the time he sounds a bit like this...

        "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:12:59 AM PDT

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      •  Absolutely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, aimeehs

        I could make an argument for public works projects that cites Hitler and his building of the Autobahn as actions that helped a moribund German economy; or for government direction of industry citing Hitler for starting VW. It is unlikely that either citation would convince people (even those predisposed to support a more robust governmental involvement in their national economies) that my arguments are sound, even though they would be.

        Is the entirety of the American left so bereft of sanity that we cannot find from it a citation critical of the virtual anarchy in post-Qaddafi Libya? That we must wrap-around to the libertarian fringe to engage in that critique?

        PrezObama's only mistake in the sequester is that he assumed that the Republicans would be more loyal to their oath of office to serve the people than their oath to Norquist to never close tax loopholes.

        by SilentBrook on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:12:37 PM PDT

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    •  everbody can see problems (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david mizner, SilentBrook, zett, kyril

      some focus on one aspect of the problems, some on others.

      What doesn't really happen is a lot of good, rational discussion of how to address repressive murderous madmen in positions of national power, how to get rid of them, how much to help insurgents, and then how to teach people with no experience of self governance how to  run a country in thirty days or less (the attention span of governments and the public in foregin countries who supported the regime change) and fend off the rapacious corporate culture we have utterly failed to stymie here in our own country.

      Do we choose the dictators because they have fewer car bombings?  Becauase they themselves usually rose to power on some combination of civil unrest if not outright civil war and with the help of some nation state seeking a client state and they don't represent a solution to my mind.   Or do we finally stop the rapacious cycle of exploitation, offer real help with things like long term  funds for medical help, schools staffed by locals, stop sending missionaries of a different religion to convert the locals, etc.    In other words, do we start to offer real help, less interference and not bankroll the major multinationals private security arrangements with our military?

      Seems to me a little honest, undirected by outside forces, civil unrest as these folks try to work out age old tribal, national interests is not something we should use as a trumped up reason to interfere more or abandon the area entirely.   If we are causing the unrest, maybe we could try stopping what we are doing, instead of trying (in a bound to be doomed as all similar prior efforts have been doomed) to tell other people how to live, what their religion should be and let them decide for themselves.

    •  Imagine the set of possible responses (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, wadingo

      by the US to the regime crisis in Libya.

      For any one of those choices, or any possible permutation or combination of those choices, I posit that Libya would today be a dangerous, volatile place.

      Tell me what you think could have been done by the US and NATO where Libya would certainly be significantly better off than it is now.

      Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

      by blue aardvark on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:15:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ron Paul is a blind squirrel (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Both of them can find an occasional nut.

      "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

      by MikeTheLiberal on Mon May 13, 2013 at 02:16:26 PM PDT

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    •  I'll take a pass on Rand Paul making sense (0+ / 0-)

      until I know the details of what alternative he proposes.

      Criticism of interventionist foreign policy is easy to make in the wake of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. What does he propose to put in its place? Isolationism or something else?

      It's like saying the Tea Party was making sense in attacking the bank bail out without looking at what they considered to be a sensible alternative.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Mon May 13, 2013 at 03:06:08 PM PDT

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    •  Even a broken clock is right twice a day (0+ / 0-)

      Ron Paul was right on 3 policy issues; ending the war on drugs and reducing military interventions overseas and auditing the Fed; the later being pretty much the only thing he accomplished in Congress during his decades there.

      Ron Paul is spectacularly wrong on many other policy and factual issues, not least of which are healthcare policy, women's reproductive freedom.

      His obsession with the Gold Standard is bizarre, but he is a man who is firm in his beliefs, and does not waver, even after decades of popular opinion goes against him.

      He's a careful racist, who is "smart" enough to do some things to cover his tracks "so to speak."

      He does not "believe in" evolution. That makes him a denialist of the highest order.

      You think Ron Paul knows what's the right thing to do? Take a look at West, Texas. That's exactly the kind of freedom that Ron Paul advocates. Where it's easy for a town to build 3 schools adjacent to a fertilizer company that doesn't bother to obey the law, has not security fence, and that only carried a freakin' million dollars liability insurance.

      Ron Paul, you say!

      The rest of us have to live in the real world.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Mon May 13, 2013 at 05:34:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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